“In the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT), finasteride significantly reduced the risk of prostate cancer but was associated with an increased risk of high-grade disease. With up to 18 years of follow-up, we analyzed rates of survival among all study participants and among those with prostate cancer.”
“A long-term follow-up to a groundbreaking study led by the director of the Cancer Therapy & Research Center confirms that a drug shown to reduce risk of prostate cancer by more than one-third has no impact on lifespan, but further reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Reducing the risk of prostate tumors by about 30%—and low-grade tumors by 43%—means thousands of men can avoid a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatments that significantly affect quality of life, said Ian M. Thompson Jr., MD, director of the CTRC at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. “If you look at the number of prostate cancers that are diagnosed annually and multiply that by 30%, that’s the number of cancers we might be able to prevent each year,” Dr. Thompson said.”
Use of finasteride reduces the risk of a prostate cancer diagnosis, but does not significantly affect mortality rates after following men for 18 years, according to the survival analysis using data from the Social Security Death Index to assess any evidence of an increased risk of death in men randomized to finasteride, a potential indicator of a “true” increased risk of high-grade disease.
Data collected in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial indicates that the drug finasteride does not increase the risk of death from prostate cancer. Researchers say that the drug may improve biopsy accuracy and reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer in the long run.
New findings from two prostate cancer trials will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting. One trial determined that men with advanced prostate cancer who receive intermittent hormone therapy survive an average of 5.1 years compared to 5.8 years for men who receive therapy continuously. The second trial determined that abiraterone (Zytiga) in combination with prednisone (a steroid) was effective for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) in patients who have not yet received chemotherapy. Abiraterone is currently approved for patients who have not responded to chemotherapy.
A recent study evaluated the effects of finasteride (sold as Proscar) on the usefulness of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening to detect prostate cancer. Researchers determined that treatment with finasteride may differentiate individuals who have a rise in PSA due to cancer from those who have a rise due to other causes, such as benign enlargement and inflammation. The combination of finasteride with PSA to detect prostate cancer may decrease the rate of unnecessary biopsies.